Successful defense of penalty petition to impute liability for surgical treatment.
The claimant suffered a work injury while working as a lineman for a national communications carrier. The injury was acknowledged as a cervical herniation at C5-6, which led to surgical repair that the employer successfully challenged as unreasonable and unnecessary. Following surgery, the claimant pursued significant post-operative treatment that the employer denied as compensable. A penalty petition was filed based upon this denial, and evidence was presented on the issue of whether the employer was liable for treatment that, although not challenged, was by proxy, unreasonable and unnecessary by virtue of the precipitating surgery. The judge agreed and denied the penalty petition.